3 minute read
2 Apr 2014
5:00 pm

Has F1 gone too far off course?

Pouring rain caused havoc during qualifying for the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, but it proved to be a red latter day for the Red Bull Team when reigning champion Sebastian Vettel put his car on the first row of the grid alongside the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.

FILE PICTURE: Daniel Ricciardo Picture: AFP

Rosberg grabbed third spot for the Stuttgart team with the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in fifth, the meat in the sandwich between the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

Was this to be the resurgence of the team that had dominated for four years?

Sunday’s race proved that Renault powered units had a last found reliability and speed, but it was still the Mercedes power unit that led the pack.

I’m sure that you all know the result of the race and have formed an opinion as to whether it was a good race or not.

Personally I found it rather processional apart from the shenanigans within the Williams team deciding to hold back Bottas for the initial stages and then telling Massa, his team mate, to allow Bottas through as he was faster.

A strange situation, that.

Add the fact that the fuel flow sensor, the unit that led to Ricciardo’s disqualification from the first race of the year, totally failed during this race and it was on the same car.

Even stranger, that.

But I was actually concerned as DRS once again played a role when Sebastian Vettel passed Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull.

I still find this a very contrived way of overtaking as the aerodynamic advantage is handed to the following car, something I just cannot come to terms with.

Topping that was the appearance of the fuel consumption graphic on your television screen and listening to the commentators discussing the attributes of fuel usage per car.

All very interesting and obviously of great significance with the new format, but coupled to the most uninspiring soundtrack ever from an F1 car, or rather the lack of sound, it certainly did not inspire much enthusiasm amongst the group of fans I was with.

Perhaps this sounds like a personal complaint column, but following comments I have read in the international media which have all taken a very negative view of the new F1 format, I have been monitoring the average SA fans reaction during the first two races of this season and it mirrors the global response.

So, was the decision by the teams and the governing body to green the pinnacle of motorsport the right path?

Will we still have the multimillion TV audiences that bring in a vast amount of revenue for the various sections of the sports administrative bodies.

My guess is no.

The most important aspect of F1 since its inception in 1950, has always been the dedicated following by the diehard enthusiasts.

This has grown due to television exposure but now it appears that those followers are no longer of any importance to the powers that be. It is certainly a concern for the circuit owners and organisers who have experienced falling gates.

The latest regulations are compounding this situation.

Ask the organisers of the Australian event who are even considering legal action because of the non inspiring exhaust notes.

It looks as though F1 could have just gone that one step too far.